Our first dinner guests, Linda and Dinasri
I’ve just finished a power yoga class and I’m sitting down to a latte made from Indonesian coffee beans that were roasted right behind me. Perfection? It’s pretty close.
I’m up to my third week in Bandung, and so far I’m pretty thrilled to be here. Orientation was pretty quick, but together with Christina and Kate I managed to find a really lovely house to live in. We live just up the hill from uni, down a beautiful big street, lined with big trees. A garden next door to our house even has an avocado tree – but it’s such a huge tree that I haven’t figured out how to actually pick any. I haven’t given up though!
See the avocados way up there?!
We live amongst a collection of houses all clustered tightly together. Our own house is a crooked little house clinging to the edge of a hill from where we can overlook the centre of Bandung. Across the river from our house is a military school, a mosque….and from the gentle lilt of christian hymns, I think there might even be a church over there somewhere. Whereas my kos in Yogya was filled with the sounds of cars and bikes roaring passed, my house in Bandung is filled with the sounds of military chants and songs, hymns and the call to prayer. Not to mention the crow of a very early rising rooster below my window. These windows let in lots of sunlight, and out the front I’ve started a compost heap – and last week I planted pots of strawberries for our tiny balcony.
Every day we can hear our Ibu squabbling next door. She often invites herself in and has a habit of cleaning up for us. And the other day she cooked me fish (sundanese style), for my lunch. Her daily visits and almost unintelligible conversations make me feel pretty safe – I know she’ll look after us.
So it goes without saying that I fell pretty comfortable in Bandung. I’ve found my favourite yoga studio and I’ve joined a few clubs, through which I’ve met some great people. The first club I joined was the BdgBerkebun club which gardens at a vacant plot of land every sunday. Some incredible students from agricultural backgrounds teach us all how to plant seedlings in recycled plastic containers, and how to incorporate composting in our own gardens. I’ve met architecture students, urban planners and agriculture students. One lovely girl is about to start her thesis on urban agriculture – which is the same topic that I have chosen for my own research. We don’t exactly produce bountiful supplies of veges – but being out in a garden in the sun is enough for me.
I’ve also been out to visit the owners of FAMorganic in Bandung. Pak Soeparno and his wife successfully run an organic farm on the outskirts of Bandung, and each month they run a workshop on how to garden in cities. Last saturday I went to this workshop – and I now know how to make the most of every available space to garden in the city. The creativity of this couple is pretty inspiring!
One other club I’ve joined is the university photography club – called Potret. Again, some really creative people are part of this club, and I’ve met some really great friends. This Friday we have a basic photography workshop, and on Saturday we’re going ‘hunting’ for photography practice. Hopefully my terrible photography skills will be improved upon…
Amongst all of this I’ve finally started research – and I can’t wait to really get involved in the process. I’ve chosen urban agriculture as my topic – and Bandung as my case study. The mayor of Bandung (Ridwan Kamil), is a very inspiring architect and urban planner who has implemented initiatives such as bike sharing, and culinary nights – all in an effort to make Bandung ‘greener’ and more liveable. I’m hoping to explore how Bandung can incorporate agricultural activities in a way that is both economically and recreationally beneficial….I’ll let you know how I go! Do I sound a bit too ambitious? A wee bit too excited? I’m not sure, but hopefully it will all come together!
You’ve got to admire anyone who tries cycling in this traffic…
And one more thing, having a house in Bandung means that having people to stay is that little bit easier – so everyone, I’m looking forward to you coming to see me!
Getting caught in the rain
My dream home…